SISTER MARY FRANCES BUTTELL 2018-06-01T09:55:15-05:00

Project Description

THE ICON: Sister Mary Frances Buttell

THE LEGACY: A member of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, an order founded by St. Katharine Drexel, Sister Mary Frances Buttell helped establish Xavier University Preparatory School in 1915 and, 12 years later, Xavier University, where she was a faculty member and, later, university dean. Even though these events unfolded when segregation was the rule, Sister Mary Frances refused to let the generations of black students who passed through her schools feel they were second-class citizens. Gertrude Guidry, a Xavier Prep alumna, said Sister Mary Frances told them: “Shoulders back, heads up, and don’t shuffle your feet. You are as good as anybody that walks God’s earth. Never forget it.”

THE ARTIST: Maddie Stratton,

THE INSPIRATION: “Sister Mary Frances Buttell … impacted the city, the church, society and culture of New Orleans as she moved the dream of availability of Catholic higher education for local African-Americans to the vibrant reality of Xavier University of Louisiana.” — Raymond Verret, Xavier University president